15 August 2004 - The following is a report on the Northhampton, MA. Iron Horse Music Hall show by John Gavin.
26 July 2004 - Iron Horse Music Hall - Northhampton, MA.
It's 5:30 PM on the 26th of July I'm standing in front of the
door to the Iron Horse. There is a line behind me about 50 deep and the show is
sold out, I know this because I got the last few tickets online. I was at the
show the night before and decided to come back for another dose.
At about 4:30pm Bruce walked up and started pulling guitars and stuff from the trunk of a big silver car and headed in for a sound check. Rocket Launcher was among the chosen as well as Messenger Wind and Baghdad, a new song done on the 12 string and reminds me a little of My Beat but differnt. It had a nice flow to it and an enjoyable chorus. My guess is he'll play it.
The door pops open and in we go. There is a table pushed up against the center stage and we ask the hostess to seat us there. This put us just about 5 feet away from the mic Bruce would be using. The Iron Horse seats approximately 150 although that is just a guess from it's size and what I could estimate. There is not a bad seat in the place. Dinner is ordered, the prices are good, the food comes out and it's just right. My daughters are with me tonight and they have hot chocolate because they are a chilly.
The atmosphere is very cozy, much like a great living room and the people all seem very friendly and expectant of something magical. It's 7pm and the lights dim, Bruce walks out to the stage and everyone cheers. He reaches for Manzer 1, a spruce topped east Indian rosewood backed cutaway style 6 string guitar made by Linda Manzer. The guitar is in a drop d tuning and Bruce's thumb starts to pump out a droning bass as he begins to play Creation Dream. The music soars out through the speakers taking us all for a ride into the past. Mystified and satisfied we all applaud as the last few notes roll out of the sound hole. Before we can all get our feet back on the ground he begins to play How I Spent My Fall Vacation. That brings us all back to reality as it was unexpected and wonderful. When he finished, he began to explain about how when in Italy there were two opposing factions, the red brigade, I believe, and the other extreme and they were shooting cops, so the cops were nervous and quick to point their automatics as Bruce and his group found out. In the same explanation he spoke of being accosted in Mogadishu [?] I think it was and in the end being mugged and having to pay to keep certain body parts attached.
The next song was All The Ways I Want You, as with every song that Bruce plays it was flawless and spellbound. Open came next and was received with an exuberant roar of approval. At it's end that same roar sealed it's place in the show. As the applause started to settle Mighty Trucks of Midnight rolled in and filled us with words of truth and reality.
Manzer 1 went back on the stand and the Guild 12 string came out. All Our Dark Tomorrow's haunted the place and was followed by a new song called Baghdad. Bruce spoke a bit about his trip and seemed to emphasize that though some Iraqi's originally may have thought the "coalition" liberated them, that now that was obviously far from the truth and the motives were not for liberty at all but selfish ambitions and greed. ( this is my paraphrased personal interpretation not Bruce's exact words).
The Guild was returned for Manzer 1 again and an amazing intro to Rocket Launcher began, the middle also had a great solo and it ended in it's traditional walk down to the upstroke e minor.
After about 15 minutes Bruce came back on stage and picked up Manzer 2, another spruce rosewood cutaway which appeared to be in an F# drop tuning. The instrumental Deep Lake was followed by Wait No More mesmerizing the room with new sights of hope for our tomorrow's.
We were all surprised by the next song Call It Democracy which was a great lead into Trickle Down which Bruce played on Manzer 1. A quick riff brought us onto the rail of Night Train, as always Bruce seemed to really get into playing it and sang with an energy that could propel a train through a mountain and ended with dramatic finality.
Then came the Last Night of The World which made us all feel as if we were having a glass of champagne with Bruce and that tomorrow really didn't matter because we were all right there in the moment.
Bruce then returned the Manzer and grabbed the 12 string chiming out the beginnings of World of Wonders which kept us at that level we were brought to in the beginning. With a graceful thank you and a humble exit Bruce left the stage only to be pulled back out by the racket of a club full of people experiencing withdrawal. We were plesantly pumped back up with Put it in Your Heart then courted and brought back down with Everywhere Dance. Finally Tie Me At The Crossroads wrapped it up and Bruce put his hands together, bowed with honor and respect and bid us all farewell. ~Thanks for listening, John Gavin [Photo-by Victoria Bouffard contributed to the Project by John Gavin]